Waycott Building: Man in Second Floor Window
This iconic painting of a man looking out a second floor window was painted on the side of the historic Waycott Building, located at 2432 W. Colorado Ave. in Old Colorado City, in 1979 by Laurence “Link” Linkus. The subject is the renowned local sculptor Michael Garman whose creation, “Magic Town,” can be toured at the nearby Michael Garman Galleries. In the late 1970’s Michael had his studio in the third floor of the Waycott Building, and loft space on the second floor. To the best of Michael’s recollection, he was sitting at the window one day taking a break from his work and having a beer. He saw a young artist painting on the exterior wall of the building in which Meadow Muffin’s restaurant was soon to open occupying the first floor. Michael decided to tease the young man and shouted down to him: “You know that the lowest form of an artist is a painter, right?” They both had a good laugh, but the next time Michael looked at the front of the building he saw that the young artist had painted a likeness of Michael on the wall depicting him with three beer cans looking out the window. Michael was in awe of the talent and initiative of the young artist.
That artist, Link, was tasked with painting faux leaded glass arched windows around the two small second story windows, on the south wall, so that they would appear to match the actual arched leaded glass windows on the third floor. “Link” was a staff artist for a number of years for Grand American Fare (GAF), a theme restaurant/bar company headquartered in California. The company developed a number of theme restaurant/bars in other Colorado communities as well as in other western states. In a 2018 interview, Link remembered living in Colorado Springs for three to four weeks while working on the Waycott Building-Meadow Muffin’s remodel project before and after working on other GAF projects. Link remembered painting the beer cans as likenesses of the red, white and blue Budweiser beer cans although they appear to have faded a bit in the sun. Finally, he recalled Michael Garman as “quite a character.”
The Waycott Building was constructed in 1901. It was built and owned by Ernest and R.H. Waycott who were general contractors in Colorado City. Its first tenants included: the First National Bank on the first floor, the Waycott Opera Company on the second floor along with some office spaces (used by attorneys and physicians in the 1900’s), the W.O.W. (Woodmen of the World) hall on the third floor (touted as “the best dance floor in the state”,) and Stewart and Tiger Bicycles shop in the basement. The second floor had two large bay windows facing Colorado Ave. The first black and white photo below, which appeared in the 1906 Gazette Telegraph “New Year’s Annual Edition,” shows the bay windows. In 1953 the bay windows were removed, the opening was partially replaced with brick and smaller windows were installed. This was likely done to preserve the structural integrity of the south wall of the building. The second black and white photo below shows the building in 1976 with a noticeable “scar” on the bricks left over from the removed bay windows.
Mack’s Catering and Confectionary Company occupied the basement from 1907 to 1914. Sometime in 1912 or 1913 Mack’s changed their name to “Mack’s Candy & Ice Cream” company. The ghost signs “Mack’s Ice Cream and Candy: the cream of merit” that appear on the east and west third floor exterior walls were likely painted in 1912 or 1913. The third floor was used as a meeting place for a number of fraternal organizations over the years. At one time there was a vaudeville theater on the first floor. From 1915 to at least the 1920’s the second floor was used as a motion picture theater, under several different names.
After the start of WWII the third floor hosted the People’s Bible School and the I.M. Assoc. Gospel Hall. From the 1940’s to 1978, the first floor housed the West End Furniture company. West End used the second and third floors at various times during that era for additional show room space. Since that time, the building has also hosted a used book store on the third floor and a film studio. The Mother Muff’s restaurant/bar currently occupies the first floor and basement.
Finally, this mural actually consists of two parts. The left second floor window had the faux leaded glass arched window with the man in the window painting. But the right second floor window, see one of the below photos, also has faux leaded glass painted around it.
(Sources include: the artist Laurence Linkus, Michael Garman, Michael Garman Gallery staff, Dave Hughes, Mel McFarland, Eric Verlo, Colorado Springs City Planning Department, Pikes Peak Regional Building Department, Pikes Peak Library District and Old Colorado City Historical Society. Special thanks to Brent Steiner, formerly Director of Promotional Services for GAF, for locating the artist.)